Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday 259: Fuzzy Faces



(Ziva and Lucy, pets of friends)




LINKING TO:

Wordless Wednesday





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday 353: Dark Witch

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!



My teaser for you this week comes from Dark Witch by Nora Roberts, the first book in her “Cousin O’Dwyer” series.


She flung out her arm, sent a raging funnel of wind through the fire.

It lifted the wolf off its feet, threw it up as it screamed in rage. And she hoped, in fear. It spun, claws lashing air as it bore him up and away.

(Chapter 12)






ABOUT THE BOOK:
Series: Cousin O'Dwyer #1


With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland.

County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.

Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…






Sunday, March 19, 2017

Random Photo: Spring Bulbs

Slowly but surely . . . .






Friday, March 17, 2017

Skywatch Friday 188

From March 7 -- the day started out clear and sunny, but clouds moved in again late afternoon . . . .













LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday 352: Buried in a Book

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!



This week's teaser is from Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington, the first in her "A Novel Idea" mystery series.


I don't remember calling the police.

I vaguely recall the sound of sirens, but they seemed to remain at a distance, never coming close enough to break through the fog enveloping my senses.

(Chapter 12)






ABOUT THE BOOK:
Series: A Novel Idea #1

After receiving her first pink slip at the age of forty-five, former newspaper journalist Lila Wilkins is desperate for work, even if it means taking a pay cut. After combing through the classifieds, Lila accepts an internship at A Novel Idea, a thriving literary agency in the Utopian town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina.

Lila can't imagine anything better than being paid to read, but with a crew of quirky co-workers and a sky-high stack of query letters, she doesn't exactly have time to discover the next great bestseller—especially when a penniless aspiring author drops dead in the agency's waiting room.

No one else seems too concerned about the man’s demise, but when Lila uncovers a series of threatening letters, she's determined to uncover what—or who—killed the man’s dreams of literary stardom. . . .




Saturday, March 11, 2017

Random Post: Daylight Savings

Don't forget to "spring forward" tonight!






Friday, March 10, 2017

Skywatch Friday 187

Taken early morning of February 25, 2017 . . .















LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday




Thursday, March 09, 2017

Thursday Thirteen 451: Recently Viewed

For this week's topic I have thirteen movies I have watched so far this year. Some of these I had seen before — though in most cases it had been years since I last saw them — and a few I had not seen before (denoted by an *). Click on any link for more information about a particular movie.


01. While You Were Sleeping (1995; Bill Pullman, Sandra Bullock — one of my favorite movies)

02. The Holiday (2006; Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, Kate Winslet)

03. Tootsie (1982; Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr)

04. Love Actually (2003; Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightly, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth)

05. The African Queen (1951; Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley)

06. Laura * (1944; Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb)

07. Precious * (2009; Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton)

08. Groundhog Day (1993; Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell)

09. Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003; The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, Return of the King; Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchette, Viggo Mortensen)

10. Ant-Man * (2015; Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll)

11. Pitch Perfect 2 * (2015; Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld)

12. To Catch a Thief (1955; Cary Grant, Grace Kelly)

13. Murder on the Orient Express (1974; Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman)


YOUR TURN: Seen anything lately you would recommend?




LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen





Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Teaser Tuesday 351: Better Off Thread

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!



This week's teaser is from a cozy mystery by Amanda Lee, Better Off Thread, part of her "Embroidery" mystery series.


"Hey, Marce," she answered. "I can't talk right now. I'm on my way to the jail."


(Chapter Three)











ABOUT THE BOOK:
Series: Embroidery Mystery #10

Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer must help her friend get untangled from the skein of a crime. . . .

Marcy is busy helping her customers make hand-crafted ornaments at her embroidery shop, The Seven-Year Stitch. But despite the Yuletide bustle, when her friend Captain Moe asks for her help, she can’t refuse—especially when the favor is to play the elf to his Santa for sick children at a local hospital. Despite the ridiculous outfit, Marcy finds herself enjoying spreading cheer—until the hospital’s administrator is found murdered.

Although the deceased had plenty of people willing to fill her stocking with coal, evidence pins the crime on Moe. Now it’s up to Marcy, with the help of her police boyfriend, Ted, and her Irish wolfhound, Angus, to stitch together the clues to clear Moe’s name—before someone else winds up crossed off Santa’s list for good. . . .





Friday, March 03, 2017

Skywatch Friday 186

Meant to post these last week, but didn't have time. These were taken on Thursday, February 16. . . .


Sunrise:









Sunset:







LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday





Thursday, March 02, 2017

Thursday Thirteen 450: Recently Acquired — Print Edition


A couple weeks ago, I posted a list of thirteen ebooks recently acquired. This week I thought I'd post a list for the "traditionalists" — a list of some of the actual printed books I've recently picked up from the local used book store or the library's monthly used book sale. These were all in good to like-new condition. So far, I have only read one of these. Click on any link for more information about any title.


01. The Circle by Dave Eggers (Fiction; Book to Movie)

02. Spouse on Haunted Hill by EJ Copperman (Cozy Mystery)

03. Better Off Thread by Amanda Lee (Cozy Mystery)

04. Dressed to Kilt by Hannah Reed (Cozy Mystery)

05. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (Classic)

06. Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton (Young Adult)

07. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (Women’s Fiction)

08. Table for Five by Susan Wiggs (Romance/Women’s Fiction)

09. Everything is Illuminated by Foer (Lit Fiction)

10. Invisible Man by Ellison (Classic)

11. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (Lit fiction)

12. Hidden Figures by (Nonfiction; Basis of the recent movie)

13. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (Classic Mystery)



LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen




Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday Thirteen 449: Mortsafes



If you saw this week’s Tuesday Teaser, you know that mortsafes played a significant role in The Sinner by Amanda Stevens. I had heard of these contraptions previously, but reading this book prompted me to learn more about them.

01. Mortsafes were designed to protect graves from disturbance, particularly from body snatchers, who provided anatomy schools with fresh corpses from the early 1700’s.

02. It was necessary for medical students to learn anatomy by attending dissections of human subjects, but there was a low allowance of dead bodies allowed by the government—mostly criminals or the homeless who died with no known relatives.

03. Authorities turned a blind eye to grave robbing, as it advanced medical knowledge, and tried to keep publicity to a minimum so people would not know what was happening. Lonely country graveyards were particularly vulnerable. Grave-snatchers were paid to dig up and transport bodies—sometimes even across the sea.

04. Revelations led to public outrage, especially in Scotland, where the dead were revered, and where there was a literal belief in the Resurrection. It was believed by many that the dead could not rise in an incomplete state.

05. Knowledge of grave robbers led to finding ways of protecting one’s friends and relatives. The poor dug heather, branches, and rocks into new graves to make it more difficult to dig them up, and also set people to watch graves at night, when such activity was most likely to occur. Watch societies formed, with one in Glasgow registering 2,000 members.

06. The rich, however, could afford more extravagant measures such as vaults, table tombstones, mausoleums and iron cages around graves.

07. The mortsafe was invented around 1816, and were heavy iron or iron-and-stone cages that fit around graves.

08. Mortsafes were a complex design of heavy iron rods and plates that were padlocked together, and fit over the coffin. They could only be removed by two people with keys, and were kept in place for at least six weeks, by which time they deemed the body to be adequately decayed that it was no longer of use to medical schools.

09. Churches sometimes bought a number of mortsafes which were then rented to parishioners.

10. Similarly, watch societies would also buy several of the contraptions with membership dues, and hire them out to non-members.

11. Examples of mortsafes have been found close to all Scottish medical schools, as have watch towers used to watch graveyards for any nefarious activity.

12. Vaults—or morthouses—were built both above and partially below ground to protect the dead. A unique one in Aberdeenshire consists of a circular building with a thick studded wooden door and an inner iron door. Inside there is a turntable to accommodate seven coffins. A coffin would be moved round as further ones were added and by the time it reappeared the body would be of no use to the dissectionists.

13. There are only two known mortsafes in the United States, in Catawissa, Pennsylvania. This pair of mortsafes is more decorative than those traditionally found in Scotland and parts of Great Britain.






LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wordless Wednesday 255: Little Free Library Garden





There are ten of these at the nearby elementary school.



LINKING TO:

Wordless Wednesday




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday 350: The Sinner

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!



This week's teaser comes from The Sinner by Amanda Stevens, on loan from a co-worker. This is book five in a series, and I recommend reading them in order, as there is a natural progression from one book to the next. This book started out creepy, and just got creepier.


About ten feet to my right, I’d glimpsed another cage. From what I could see through the weeds and vines, the device appeared identical to the first except for one grisly addition.

Inside the mortsafe, a pair of hands rose up out of a freshly mounded grave to grasp the iron grate.

(Chapter one)





ABOUT THE BOOK:
Series: Graveyard Queen #5

"I am a living ghost, a wanderer in search of my purpose and my place . . ."


I'm a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone.

I've come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I've been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?





Sunday, February 19, 2017

Random Photos: now You See It, Now You Don't





What little snow we had has faded fast this
week due to unseasonable warm temps --
we could see 60F next week . . .  in February!
That's almost 30 degrees above normal.




Friday, February 17, 2017

Skywatch Friday 185

Full Moon, Obscured by Clouds
Friday, 10 February 2017




LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday




Wednesday, February 15, 2017